15 December 2022

Can India build a military strong enough to deter China?

John Reed and Chloe Cornish

Until the spring of 2020, China and India took elaborate precautions to avoid tensions along the shared northern border where they had fought a war almost six decades earlier.

Soldiers along the Line of Actual Control, as India and China call the disputed border between the Indian territory of Ladakh and China’s Tibet and Xinjiang regions, would typically patrol unarmed, sometimes leaving cigarette packets or other local-language litter in the buffer zone to signal to the other side that they had been there.

When patrols from the Indian Armed Forces and People’s Liberation Army physically met, they would display banners warning the other side that they had encroached on their national territory, and ordering them to retreat.

But in April and May 2020, Chinese troops broke this status quo when they cut off some of the Indians’ traditional patrol routes in eastern Ladakh. Shouted arguments and fistfights escalated into soldiers attacking one another with clubs and stones. By the end of the clashes, 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were reported dead.

Pakistani Army: Afghan Forces Shell Border Town, Killing 7

Deadly cross-border shelling by Afghan Taliban forces at a Pakistani border town on Sunday killed seven people, Pakistan’s military said, as relations continue to sour between the two neighboring countries.

The violence hitting Chaman in southwestern Pakistan follows a series of deadly incidents and attacks that have skyrocketed tensions between Islamabad and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers. Chaman is the main border crossing for trade between the countries.

The crossing was reopened on Monday morning, authorities said.

The Pakistani army’s media wing initially said six died in Sunday’s shelling, but the death toll later rose to seven. Sixteen others were wounded, the army said, blaming the casualties on the “unprovoked and indiscriminate fire” of heavy weapons by Afghan forces on civilians.

In Afghanistan, a spokesman for Kandahar’s governor, Ataullah Zaid, appeared to link the clashes between Pakistani and Taliban forces with the construction of new checkpoints on the Afghan side of the border.

Bangladesh’s Opposition Demands Government’s Resignation at Massive Dhaka Rally

Shafi Md Mostofa

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)’s much-awaited rally in Dhaka on December 10 ended peacefully with the party putting forward ten demands to the Awami League government. In addition to calling for the resignation of the government and the dissolving of parliament, the BNP has demanded the setting up of a neutral election-time caretaker government.

Other demands include the withdrawal of “false cases” filed against BNP leaders and activists, including party chief and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, as well as the repeal of laws like the Digital Security Act 2018, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2009, and the Special Powers Act 1974.

The BNP announced at the rally that its seven parliamentarians would resign. The MPs have since emailed the resignations to the speaker of the house.

There were apprehensions that the BNP rally in the capital would turn violent. Clashes were expected to erupt between police and opposition activists. That did not happen as security at the site of the rally and across Dhaka was tight.

Mekong Delta Will Continue To Be At Risk For Severe Flooding

The Mekong River Delta is the agricultural heartland of Vietnam; it is affected by droughts and flooding, which have become more severe in recent years. If severe weather events can be more accurately predicted, risk assessments in the regions can be improved. This, in turn, will reduce the negative effects of floods and droughts in the region.

A team led by Tsuyoshi Watanabe at Hokkaido University has revealed the clearest picture yet of how the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) affected rainfall in the Mekong Delta over the last hundred years. Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. They correlated water salinity data from reef coral samples with historical weather records and uncovered that the ENSO has caused seasons of heavy and light rainfall, resulting in patterns of both flooding and droughts, respectively.

The ENSO occurs in the central and Eastern tropical Pacific ocean, in irregular cycles of two to seven years. It consists of the El Niño (warming of the ocean surface), La Niña (cooling of the ocean surface) and neutral (neither warming, nor cooling).

The Current Situation in China

Over the last two decades, a shifting international order and the resurgence of strategic competition among powerful states has raised the potential for geopolitical rivalries to spur and worsen violence. Rising competition between the United States and China has exacerbated tensions over longstanding potential flashpoints between the two countries. China’s expanding international presence has extended into conflict zones and fragile states of strategic interest to the United States. From instability in neighboring countries such as Myanmar to more distant conflicts in Africa, China’s growing influence has a substantial impact on local, regional and international conflict dynamics. Beijing is also actively working to revise global governance institutions and norms to make them compatible with its authoritarian political model.

Frictions between the United States and China have reduced the space for cooperation and increased the risk of conflict between the two countries. Updating institutions and systems for cooperation among the United States and like-minded partners, and where possible, with competitors like China, could help stabilize the international system, avert and de-escalate the risks of possible conflict, and tackle transnational challenges such as nuclear proliferation, organized crime, climate change and infectious diseases.

The War in Ukraine in Chinese Public Opinion

Michael B Cerny

How Beijing navigates its position on Ukraine with respect to public opinion could present important lessons for how it might respond to future crises.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to expose the complicated dynamics behind public opinion in its ‘no limits’ partner, the People’s Republic of China. Conventional wisdom suggests that public opinion is irrelevant to the Chinese government, which does not hold competitive, multiparty elections. In reality, how citizens feel about domestic and foreign policy is a cornerstone of the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy. Cognisance of this fact is essential to understanding China’s state-led media, censorship and security apparatuses, and how the country navigates international crises like the war in Ukraine and a possible conflict over Taiwan.

Within a few weeks of the invasion in February, Beijing’s official position on the conflict slowly crystallised into offering Russia moral and rhetorical support. Astute observers of Beijing’s diplomatic rhetoric and social media noted how this support was primarily refracted through an anti-Western prism, as opposed to genuine support for Russian interests in Ukraine. Spokespeople for China’s foreign ministry criticised the US for instigating the conflict by pushing NATO’s boundaries eastward – a narrative still widely embraced in Chinese diplomatic, intellectual and online discourse. Moreover, guidance allegedly leaked from a Chinese state media outlet instructed reporters not to publish content ‘unfavourable to Russia or pro-Western’, which was followed by streams of pro-Russian propaganda on Chinese state media and widespread censorship of contrary positions.

China-Africa Relations in Review

Thierry Pairault

“China did this,” “the Chinese did that.” There is an essentialization of China and Chinese actors that hinders our understanding of China-Africa relations – whether to praise or demonize them – as it lumps a multiplicity of approaches, as well as actors, into a fantasized strategy. Hence, the need to use the plural to talk about these Chinese presences in Africa.

Chinese Actors in Africa

To begin with, there are institutional actors who may clash within the embassies themselves. There are divergences between officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who subordinate the commercial to the political, and those from the Ministry of Trade who, conversely, subordinate the political to the commercial. This disagreement was particularly sensitive after the institutional reform of 2003 which, in fact, granted a certain pre-eminence to the Ministry of Trade over that of Foreign Affairs. This rivalry between the commercial and the political is also reflected in the relationship between officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ExIm Bank of China, which is under the Ministry of Finance: the former encourages the granting of loans at subsidized rates, while the latter prefers to grant loans at commercial rates. These frictions in Africa can be expressed through political confrontation – and thus opposing strategies – at the central government level in China. These institutional disputes may become even more important as the National Development and Reform Commission depends on piecemeal information from institutional actors, or even the inevitably biased information provided by recipient companies.

China Isn’t Ready to Invade Taiwan

J. Tedford Tyler

Beijing’s 2005 Anti-Secession Law, the 2019 Military Strategy, and the 2022 National Party Congress (NPC) Report have made China’s position crystal-clear: Taiwan independence is a non-starter.

While delivering the 2022 NPC Report, General Secretary Xi Jinping reiterated that nothing has changed vis-a-vis Taiwan. “We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.” A peaceful resolution is the preferred end state, but military power is not going to be renounced. Without question, China is willing to use armed force.

But while China may be willing to use armed force, I argue that China faces major challenges and is not ready. There are two major challenges: unfinished military modernization and high casualty potential. Together, these two factors help explain why China can stomach the status quo. Beijing could elect to pay the costs to invade Taiwan, but does not want to pay.

How Chinese netizens breached the great firewall

In april a young Chinese painter in Italy began using Twitter to publish content forwarded by censor-wary netizens in China. For much of the previous year, he had done the same on Weibo, a Chinese social-media platform. But he moved to Twitter after Chinese authorities closed his Weibo accounts. For the first few months, his posts were not widely read. Twitter is blocked in China. And he tweets in Chinese, limiting his foreign audience.

Yet his account, “Teacher Li Is Not Your Teacher”, became a critical conduit for information about the protests against covid-19 restrictions that erupted across China last month (one is pictured). Participants and spectators sent him loads of images and eyewitness accounts by direct message. By reposting many, he played an important role in conveying the scale of the unrest to others, in China and abroad. He also gained almost 600,000 new followers and 387m visits to his Twitter profile in November alone.

Teacher Li’s account was just one manifestation of the biggest breach in China’s internet controls since they began in the late 1990s. Public anger has flared online before, but never coalesced into widespread physical protests. Now cyber administrators are scrambling to plug holes in the “great firewall”, lest a new surge of covid leads to more digital dissent.

China’s alliance with Saudi Arabia signals a potential shift in the global order

Ellen Ioanes

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, participated in a major meeting Friday, signaling increasingly close ties between the nations as US relations with both countries grow increasingly chilly.

One significant result of the summit — which focused on trade agreements concerning oil, technology, infrastructure, and security — was an agreement that the two nations would not interfere with each other’s domestic affairs. Alleged human rights violations have been a serious pressure point in the once-strong US-Saudi alliance, while criticism of China’s treatment of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region have rankled the economic superpower.

The China-Saudi relationship isn’t new, but Friday’s summit outlined the terms of the two countries’ cooperation and heralds a shift in the global geopolitical order — away from the US.

How will US funding for defense technology innovation evolve?

Eric Chewning

The United States and its allies operate in an increasingly complex security environment, and defense technology is rapidly advancing in response. The Pentagon recognizes the challenges ahead and has recently made public statements that emphasize the importance of prioritizing science and technology innovation to maintain the US military’s edge.1 US policy makers are also looking to the private sector—commercial companies and nontraditional defense contractors—to accelerate technology development and application.2 The 2022 US Department of Defense (DOD) budget also included a record research, development, test, and evaluation (RDTE) request.

US policy makers are also looking to the private sector—commercial companies and nontraditional defense contractors—to accelerate technology development and application.

But when it comes to innovation, how much funding is readily available, and which organizations receive it? And which technologies are major targets for investment? These questions are critical for both defense firms and investors considering opportunities in the segment. To answer them, we assessed the DOD’s R&D budget for defense technology innovation, which we defined as investment in early-stage science and technology programs, technology development, prototyping initiatives, and pilot programs related to AI software and digital technologies.

Why Africa matters to the United States: Top 5 reasons

Belinda Archibong, Aloysius Uche Ordu, Danielle Resnick, Witney Schneidman

For years, U.S. engagement in Africa has emphasized poverty reduction, foreign aid, and addressing conflict and insecurity. While critically important, these priorities have not fully kept pace with dramatic changes occurring across the region, as Africa today has emerged as one of the world’s premier destinations for cutting-edge innovation and inspiring entrepreneurship.

The briefing papers in this collection are meant to touch on some of the key reasons why Africa matters for the United States, as well as strategic opportunities for U.S. engagement in the region. These briefs focus on five key issues: how the U.S. can reinforce trade and investment in Africa, as well as advance shared values on issues of food security, global health, digital transformation, and infrastructure.

Washington Won’t Chip Away At China’s Military With Semiconductor Sanctions

Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Megan Hogan

In October 2022, the Biden administration introduced export controls on China, prohibiting the sale of cutting-edge semiconductor chips, the advanced equipment needed to manufacture them and semiconductor expertise from the United States. The controls are the Biden administration’s most serious attempt to undermine China’s military modernisation and the most damaging measures US President Joe Biden has taken against China.

Advanced semiconductors underpin everything from autonomous vehicles to hypersonic weapon systems. Chips are imperative to the defence industry and technologies of the future. By targeting this critical input, the Biden administration aims to freeze China’s semiconductor suite at 2022 levels and impede its military development.

China will probably struggle to maintain its rapid advances in artificial intelligence, quantum and cloud computing without access to US technology and expertise. Chipmakers like the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation — China’s largest logic chip producer — will lose access to machine maintenance and equipment replacement under the new controls.

Why Is America Fighting Trade Wars With Its Allies?

Kaush Arha

American subsidies intended to boost domestic electric vehicle production have driven a wedge between Washington and its traditional European, South Korean, and Japanese allies. These subsidies have hit key U.S. partners where it hurts during a time of great economic vulnerability, sparked in part by the energy market volatility that has emerged in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What’s more, the Biden administration took this step while aggressively calling for solidarity from its European and Indo-Pacific allies to counter Russia and China. It is a curious turnabout for the Biden administration, which criticized the previous administration for engaging in trade wars with allies and is now promising that “America is back” and engaging in “relentless diplomacy.”

At its core, the Biden administration’s imprudent and shortsighted decision signals a lack of probity in addressing the Chinese threat seriously. The administration’s relentless diplomacy appears to fall short both on substance and style in fortifying alliances and rallying friends to counter China, which the recent National Security Strategy identified as the greatest threat in the world.

Putin’s new strategy to win the propaganda war over Ukraine invasion

Mark Galeotti

Long-range Ukrainian drone strikes on air bases hundreds of miles inside Russian territory on Monday and Tuesday demonstrated that Kyiv was willing and able to escalate the war on its own terms.

These attacks represent a serious military challenge for the Kremlin but are also politically convenient. They reinforce President Putin’s new message: that this is a national, patriotic struggle for the survival of the Motherland in which there can be no bystanders or backsliders.

Is Russia Close to Using Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine?

James Holmes

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That being the case, it’s hard to say with confidence whether Ukrainian drone strikes deep within Russian territory might induce Vladimir Putin to order a nuclear riposte.

Putin is given to muttering darkly about nuclear war, presumably to deter the West from involving itself more directly in Ukraine’s defense.

Even so, that he would use doomsday weaponry seems doubtful on strategic and operational grounds.

First, strategy. Bombarding airfields in Ukraine’s beleaguered eastward provinces—airfields from which the drone strikes probably emanated—would defy strategic logic. The ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu put it best: “Generally in war the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this.” The wise sovereign and field commander do their utmost to avoid ruining lands they want to make their own. They preserve the land, its people, and its resources for the sovereign’s use.

An Endgame in Ukraine: American Strategic Options II

Michael Hochberg & Leonard Hochberg

Option 2: Reinforce the Rules-Based International Order through Ukrainian Victory

One reason that the war in Ukraine has been met with such alarm is that it is a direct attack on the rules-based international order, which stipulates the sanctity of the territorial integrity of sovereign states. In the absence of a global government enforcing these rules, enforcement rests on the willingness of the U.S., as a now-weakened global hegemon, to enforce its treaty obligations.

Foolishly, NATO and the U.S. failed to provide the Ukrainians with the means to deter a Russian invasion, which was a remarkable failure of strategy and policy. Having convinced the Ukrainians to give up their nuclear weapons in exchange for a paper promise of territorial integrity, the United States and the United Kingdom declined to provide them with an alternative means of deterrence. A strong and independent Ukraine would have created considerable geostrategic insecurity among the Russian policy elite, standing astride a southern invasion route, just as the Baltic states occupy the northern one, into Russia.

As the war unfolded, the U.S. and its NATO allies realized that supplying arms, training, intelligence, money, and foreign soldiers to Ukraine would prolong the conflict. After the Russian failure to conquer Kyiv, merely propping up Ukraine’s military and economy gave way to hope that a conventional military confrontation might result in a victory. Such an outcome could be maximalist—driving the Russians out of Ukrainian territory as it was constituted prior to the 2014 invasion. Or the victory could be minimalist—turning the Russians back and seizing territory that was lost since the war recommenced this year, leaving the Russians with the Russian speaking territories in the east and with Crimea.

Who Owns the Earth’s Lungs?

Robbie Gramer

CAMP 41, Amazon, Brazil—Thiago Kloss holds up a leaf with a speckled green smudge on it, showing off what is, in effect, the carcass of a zombie spider. He’s pretty sure it’s a newly discovered species.

That green smudge, Kloss believes, is a porous film of fungus covering the dead spider. It’s a fungus that appears to infect spiders and transform them into zombies, taking control of their bodies to go find just the right spots near other spiders to die and spread their fungal spores to new victims. This particular zombie spider carcass is one small part of the unforgiving and, at times, brutal life cycle in the dense Amazon undergrowth, a small cog in the complex ecosystem Kloss and his team of researchers with the Universidade Federal de Viçosa are studying at a remote research station in the central Amazon rainforest.

The research station, called Camp 41, is a pinprick of civilization in a vast sea of untouched forest. The collection of tarp-lined shanties is Kloss’s home for several weeks as he and his team conduct research on spiders—and their fungal zombie overlords—in the region. “In the Amazon, the number of species that will be discovered in the next year is amazing, and it increases each year,” Kloss said, as he holds up a large vial of spiders that his team collected with “probably five, six, or seven” new spider species in it.

Russia And The West Are In A Financial War

Robert Farley

How goes the financial war between Russia and the West? This new series of articles – of which this is part one (you can read part II here) – examines how Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union have “waged wars with gold,” or in other words used the tools of high finance to compete, coerce, and even clobber one another.

The Finance Domain

Just as states have armies, navies, and air forces as tools of defense statecraft, they also have groups of professionals dedicated to protecting state interests with financial tools: “gold forces,” if you will.

We call the space in which these forces operate the “finance domain,” much as we call the space that navies and air forces operate the “maritime domain” and “air domain” respectively.

Fierce claims to Crimea highlight slim chance of Russia-Ukraine peace deal

Francesca Ebel

After nine months of death and destruction, the key to Russia’s war against Ukraine lies in the craggy, sea-swept peninsula of Crimea — with its limestone plateaus and rows of poplar trees — which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

It was in Crimea in February 2014, not February 2022, that Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine began. And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insists that only by retaking Crimea will the war end, with Ukraine defeating its Russian invaders.

“Its return will mean the restoration of true peace,” Zelensky declared in October. “The Russian potential for aggression will be completely destroyed when the Ukrainian flag will be back in its rightful place — in the cities and villages of Crimea.”

But for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the annexation of Crimea has become a pillar of his legacy, which would crumble if he loses the peninsula. Putin has indicated that any effort by Ukraine to retake Crimea would cross a red line that he would not tolerate.

Australian Defence College (ADC)

Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies, v. 4, no. 2, 2022 
  • The 2022 JG Grey Oration: Change and Continuity in War by Prof. Beatrice Heuser
  • Australian Civil-Military Relations : Distinct Cultural and Constitutional Foundations
  • Digital Payback: How Indigenous Australian Thinking Can Stabilise a Global Rules-Based Order
  • What is Integrated Deterrence? A Gap between US and Australian Strategic Thought
  • A Capability in Search of a Mission: Australia and Hypersonic Missiles
  • On Chinese Deterrence Thought and Practice circa 2022
  • Coercion, Compellence and Conquest: Russia's Strategic Deterrence Concept in Theory and Practice after the Invasion of Ukraine
  • The Unaccountable Contradiction: Military Theory and the Profession of Arms in the Twenty-First Century
  • Focus: Conventional Deterrence - Considerations for Australian Strategy
  • Featuring Commentary Articles from Van Jackson, Benjamin Zala, Matthew Sussex and Michael Clarke

Open systems architecture can unlock ‘limitless potential:’ Army Undersecretary


NASHVILLE — The Army faces a few key challenges to improving the speed at which it turns out its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, and making use of open systems architecture can unlock “limitless potential” for the service, the service’s undersecretary said this week.

Speaking with reporters here at the Army Technical Exchange Meeting, Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo laid out the challenges when it comes to accelerating the pace of bringing capabilities online.

“I think there’s always room for us to improve the speed and acceleration at which we can turn out capabilities but, let’s be clear, on the EW side, without obviously getting into anything that would be classified…there is two sets of challenges you’re fundamentally looking at,” he said. “One is…primarily software-based and making sure that we have the ability to counter and address and respond to any type of EW threats that we would encounter on the battlefield…The second challenge, of course, is integrating that capability onto the diversity of platforms that we have.”

The Autocrat in Your iPhone

Ronald J. Deibert

In the summer of 2020, a Rwandan plot to capture exiled opposition leader Paul Rusesabagina drew international headlines. Rusesabagina is best known as the human rights defender and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient who sheltered more than 1,200 Hutus and Tutsis in a hotel during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. But in the decades after the genocide, he also became a prominent U.S.-based critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. In August 2020, during a layover in Dubai, Rusesabagina was lured under false pretenses into boarding a plane bound for Kigali, the Rwandan capital, where government authorities immediately arrested him for his affiliation with an opposition group. The following year, a Rwandan court sentenced him to 25 years in prison, drawing the condemnation of international human rights groups, the European Parliament, and the U.S. Congress.

Less noted at the time, however, was that this brazen cross-border operation may also have employed highly sophisticated digital surveillance. After Rusesabagina’s sentencing, Amnesty International and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, a digital security research group I founded and direct, discovered that smartphones belonging to several of Rusesabagina’s family members who also lived abroad had been hacked by an advanced spyware program called Pegasus. Produced by the Israel-based NSO Group, Pegasus gives an operator near-total access to a target’s personal data. Forensic analysis revealed that the phone belonging to Rusesabagina’s daughter Carine Kanimba had been infected by the spyware around the time her father was kidnapped and again when she was trying to secure his release and was meeting with high-level officials in Europe and the U.S. State Department, including the U.S. special envoy for hostage affairs. NSO Group does not publicly identify its government clients and the Rwandan government has denied using Pegasus, but strong circumstantial evidence points to the Kagame regime.

A Capability Definition and Assessment Framework for Countering Disinformation, Information Influence, and Foreign Interference

James Pamment

This report proposes a capability assessment framework for countering disinformation, information influence, and foreign interference. At present, much emphasis is placed on the capability to counter disinformation and other associated phenomena. However, few have attempted to systematically define what those countermeasures are, and how they could be placed within a single, coherent capability assessment framework.

This lack is not least because countries do not, and should not, approach these challenges in the same way. Geography, history, political systems, areas of expertise, and relative power explain to some extent why countries use different terminologies, organisational structures, and policies for dealing with foreign interference. Furthermore, friendly actors at times share capabilities–such as tech platforms, researchers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and private-sector intelligence companies.

There is no perfect template for assessing capabilities, but rather only organisations and systems designed to cope with different threats based on their mandates, interests, and available resources.

Air-gapped PCs vulnerable to data theft via power supply radiation

Bill Toulas

A new attack method named COVID-bit uses electromagnetic waves to transmit data from air-gapped systems, which are isolated from the internet, over a distance of at least two meters (6.5 ft), where it's captured by a receiver.

The information emanating from the isolated device could be picked up by a nearby smartphone or laptop, even if a wall separates the two.

The COVID-bit attack was developed by Ben-Gurion University researcher Mordechai Guri, who has designed multiple methods to steal sensitive data from air-gapped systems stealthily. Prior work includes the “ETHERLED” and “SATAn” attacks.

Initial compromise

Physically air-gapped systems are computers typically found in high-risk environments such as energy infrastructure, government, and weapon control units, so they are isolated from the public internet and other networks for security reasons.

US Army intel office plots AI development with Project Linchpin

Colin Demarest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. Army’s one-stop shop for all things intelligence and electronic warfare is in the preliminary stages of constructing a digital pipeline to more efficiently develop artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

The undertaking, dubbed Project Linchpin, is a collaboration between the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, or PEO IEW&S, the Army Research Lab and Army Futures Command’s AI integration hub.

Through the project, officials intend to create the “infrastructure and environment” needed to deliver AI capabilities for use across the intertwined intelligence, cyber and electronic warfare spaces. The plan, documents show, is to soothe troubles often associated with AI optimization and distribution, such as incorporation of new data and extensive training regimens.

“I see it as a huge enabler across my entire portfolio in how we can deliver the future algorithms and how we can alleviate the cognitive burden that’s been discussed,” PEO IEW&S boss Mark Kitz said Dec. 8 at the Army’s Technical Exchange Meeting 9, a networks-and-communications industry event in Nashville, Tennessee.

Precision Versus Massed Fires: Potential Lessons From The Ukraine War

Dan Gouré

Ukraine may provide answers to many questions regarding the way high-end wars of the 21st century will be fought. One of the most important of these questions is the appropriate balance between precision and massed fires. Both sides have employed large numbers of precision and unguided projectiles in the nearly year-long war. The answer to this question is of critical importance for the Department of Defense (DoD) as it not only seeks to replenish munitions stockpiles drawn down as a result of aiding Ukraine but also considers what combination of munitions and missiles is needed and in what numbers to prepare U.S. forces for potential high-end conflicts with Russia, China, or both.

It is clear that Ukraine has become an artillery/rocket war. The two sides have fired a stunning number of artillery rounds. These are largely non-guided projectiles of various calibers. Some reports have Russia firing up to 20,000 rounds a day while Ukraine has been expending between four and seven thousand per day. These usage rates are reminiscent of past Great Power conflicts. As a recent report by the Royal United Services Institute observed, massed artillery fires are being used by the Russian Army to compensate for the poor quality of its personnel, the inadequacy of combined arms tactics, and poor command and control:

Ukraine, Russia Launch New Attacks On Each Other’s Strongholds

Ukraine has launched multiple missile attacks on the Russian-occupied town of Melitopol and targeted the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula, according to reports from the war zone, while Russian drones attacked Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said about 1.5 million people were left without electricity in the Odesa region, with local officials urging residents whose homes rely only on electricity to leave.

“We are talking not about days,” for the repairs to be made and the power restored, they said in a Facebook post, “but even weeks and possibly even two to three months.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC’s “This Week” show that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is trying to bring Ukraine to its knees” with attacks on the country’s electrical grid and water supplies as winter sets in.

Fifteen drones were launched at Odesa and the surrounding region, the Ukrainian armed forces said on Facebook, while 10 were shot down. The ones that got through struck two power facilities, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said. The prosecutor’s office said these were Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.

An Assessment of U.S. Military Thinking on Cislunar Space Based on Current Doctrine

Summary: The U.S. military mindset for space myopically focues on orbital regimes, similar to a green water navy staying in littoral waters. If this mindset continues, the U.S. military cannot compete in cislunar space (the area of space between the earth and the moon or the moon’s orbit) in the same way in which a blue water navy competes in the open ocean. The maritime theory of Sir Julian Corbett is useful as a lens to understand the current mindset constraints and shortfalls.

Text: The race for cislunar space is underway. The recent the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Artemis mission heralding an impending return of manned space flight beyond orbital regimes is an inspiring early leg. At least six nations are currently pursing efforts beyond geocentrism and its orbital regimes, pursuing moon missions and other activities at positions in space where objects sent there tend to stay put, known as LaGrange Points[1]. The ability to operate reliably in cislunar space is not just a matter of national pride, it is a demonstration of and mechanism by which to grow multiple aspects of national power. There are clear reasons for this: cislunar space offers a new frontier for economic development and if mankind permanently lives beyond the Earth, it will be in cislunar space.

Elements of the U.S. government are fully ready enter into this race. The recent National Cislunar Science and Technology Strategy is a bold call for action. This document recognizes the importance of scientific and commercial development of cislunar space and the importance this will play for the future of U.S. national power[2]. It is with some, but not much, hyperbole that this strategy seems like a homage to Sir Julian Corbett, perhaps not the most well known, but in the author’s opinion the most thoughtful theorist on naval and maritime power.

China Unveils New Stealthy, Armed "Loyal Wingman" Attack Drone


(Washington D.C.) The People’s Liberation Army has unveiled a new armed, stealthy, loyal-wingman drone intended to fly alongside and operate in coordination with manned fighter jets to conduct reconnaissance, test enemy air defenses and launch attacks with precision weapons. China’s new FH-97A “Loyal Wingman” drone, which looks and operates like the US Air Force’s pioneering and now airborne Valkyrie drone, perhaps offers the latest window into what many suspect is massive, decades long, multipronged Chinese campaign to steal US military technologies and tactics.

China and US Military Technologies

China’s much-discussed and arguably transparent effort to essentially “rip off” US military technologies and designs when it comes to major platforms such as stealth fighter jets and aircraft carriers is quite visible to an observer's eye. Not only do China’s J-20 and J-31 “look” like F-22 and F-35 copycats, but there have been many public, well-documented writings pointing to a long-standing pattern of Chinese cyber and academic espionage specific to US military weapons technologies. Several published Pentagon reports, for instance, have in recent years cited not-so-coincidental similarities between US and Chinese 5th-generation stealth fighter configurations.

Combat Drones in Ukraine

Adam Lowther & Mahbube K. Siddiki

Drones are playing an important role in the war in Ukraine. Without a large conventional air force, the Ukrainian military is employing a number of high- and low-end imported and domestically produced drones to devastating effect against Russian forces. This article examines how Ukrainian and Russian forces are employing these drones and their effects on the battlefield.

Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s invasion surprised not only Russian president Vladimir Putin but also Western intelligence agencies and prominent analysts.1
A wide range of drones are among the celebrated systems proving effective for Ukrainian forces, most notably the Baykar Bayraktar TB2. This combat drone now has a song and music video dedicated to its success against Russian troops.2 Aside from this famous battle-tested drone, both sides have other drones now employed in combat. This article analyzes the drones being used by Ukraine and Russia, their effects on the battlefield, and implications for future combat.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine, labeled a “special operation” by Putin, began on February 24, 2022. The planned days-long invasion soon turned into a war of attrition that, by its eight month, had triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. As of October 2022, more than 4.6 million Ukrainians remain outside their own country, with millions more internally displaced.3